If you get the chance to stand under the majestic ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City, you should take the opportunity, but you won't get a lot of time to take in the experience.
During the chapel's peak hours, it can get up to 20,000 visitors a day
, and the Vatican has tried to limit its daily guest totals just so people don't have to fast forward too much through such a monumental work, a testament to Michelangelo's passion and talent.
A new exhibition that just opened at the Irving Mall wants to make one of history's most breathtaking and influential works of art more accessible for the viewing public.
"Our CEO [Martin Biallas of SEE Global Entertainment] had gone to the Sistine Chapel and had a horrible experience," says exhibition spokeswoman Melanie Nelson. "He was rushed through the whole thing. He thought there's got to be a way to bring this part to the public."
Sistine Chapel: The Exhibition
is an interactive tour of life-size recreations of Michelangelo's most famous and ambitious works of art. The exhibition is open from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. every Wednesday-Sunday until March 27.
"He thought people really should enjoy the beauty of the art there on their own terms," Nelson says. "People should be able to see and take pictures and everything."
Jack Brennan listening to an audio narration of the history of Michelangelo's "The Flood" at Sistine Chapel: The Exhibition.
The exhibition houses reproductions of all 34 paintings such the famous Creation of Adam and the frescoes of The Last Judgment that sit behind the chapel's altar.
"I've been to the Sistine Chapel and wanted to see pictures of it up close," says Patti Weatherred of Carrolton, who visited the exhibition on Friday. "This is amazing. There's so much more detail and when you're in the Chapel, it's so high that you can't make out the detail."
Each recreation is printed on 10-foot canvases thanks to a special deal with the Chapel through the art licensing company Bridgeman Images. Each painting includes a description of its history, story and artistic influence, which van be heard on a mobile audio device.
"I've loved Michelangelo since I was in high school," says Tina Burr who came from Smithville to see the paintings. "He's one of my favorite artists. This is probably as close I'm going to get to it."
Even if they aren't the actual paintings, the size and scope of the work completed by the artist is breathtaking no matter how someone sees it, says visitor Tim Brennan of Dallas.
"The fact that one man did it blows me away," Brennan says. "I didn't realize things like the two coats of plaster he used and the scaffolding. The fact that he did one of these in 24 hours is amazing."